Deck the halls safely, fire marshal says

  • Wed Dec 18th, 2019 3:30pm
  • News

The state fire marshal has sent out some tips on how to keep your home and family safe this year.

“Although Christmas tree and holiday decoration fires are uncommon, they are far more dangerous than other types of fires,” an email release from the State Fire Marshal’s Office said. “According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, over the past five years in Washington state, one in every 42 residential fires caused by Christmas trees or holiday decorations resulted in a civilian death, compared to one death per 108 fires from other causes.”

They offer these tips to reduce the risk of fire:

If you choose an artificial tree, make sure it is labeled as fire retardant.

If you choose a live tree, select one with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. Water it daily and get rid of it when it is dry.

Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.

Place Christmas trees and decorations at least 3 feet away from any heat source, such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

Use lights labeled by an independent testing lab.

Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect.

Choose decorations labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant.

Keep lit candles away from decorations or other flammable items. Do not leave lit candles unattended.

Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, not both.

Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.

Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.

More information on fire safety can be found at the Fire Marshal’s Office website: wsp.wa.gov/prevention-data-collection.